Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf called Osama bin Laden’s death on Monday a “positive step” but criticised the United States for launching the raid on the al Qaeda leader within Pakistan’s borders.
Musharraf told Reuters that Pakistani intelligence ought to have known bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. He also said al Qaeda supporters may take revenge against the United States and Pakistan.
Describing the killing as a victory for the people of Pakistan, Musharraf said: “It’s a very positive step and it will have positive long-term implications.” “Today we won a battle, but the war against terror will continue,” Musharraf said in Dubai, where he has a home.
Musharraf said, however, that the operation had infringed on Pakistan’s sovereignty: “It’s a violation to have crossed Pakistan’s borders,” he said in an interview.
Musharraf also criticised Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus for failing to find bin Laden, whose group staged the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
“It’s an intelligence failure,” said Musharraf. “The intelligence ought to have known.”
Pakistani authorities were told the details of the raid on bin Laden only after it had taken place, highlighting a lack of trust between Washington and Islamabad.
Musharraf called bin Laden’s decision to hide near Islamabad, rather than in the remote regions of the country where he was thought to be hiding, “an intelligent act”.
At the same time, Musharraf admitted that the attack came at a time when al Qaeda’s influence in Pakistan had been replaced by growing Taliban influence.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2011.
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